The franchising industry’s best-kept secret: local search marketing

The powerful, free local search is an incredible way to achieve marketing KPIs. Yet franchises still don't optimise their use of this offering.

The franchising industry’s best-kept secret: local search marketing

The powerful, free local search is an incredible way to achieve marketing KPIs. Yet franchises still don’t optimise their use of this offering.

Those who know and have worked with me will be well aware that one of my major professional mottoes is that “what gets measured, gets managed”.

The power of numbers

As a firm believer in the power of numbers, there are a few important statistics about local search marketing that I’d like to share: 86% of prospective customers rely on Google Maps to find a business’ location; 82% of customers will take a look at local online business reviews before making a purchasing decision; 78% of local searches result in visits to the business on the same day; 70% of customers are more likely to visit a business with a complete local profile while 50% of these are likely to make a purchase; and 61% of search queries conducted on Google every day are local ones.

Why local search and what it is

If you haven’t noticed the pattern yet, the lowest common denominator with these stats is local searches. Offered by Google through its Google Business Profiles (formerly known as Google My Business), the platform is an incredible way to ensure brand consistency, attract more clients, generate enough work for new franchise locations, support franchisees’ marketing efforts, achieve outstanding overall business success and the list goes on.

So, what is local search marketing? This form of marketing caters to local search queries through which prospective customers utilise the power of Google to receive local search results for products and services in a variety of industries they may be looking for. Through their mobile phones or desktop’s location, GPS signals indicate to Google that a local search is being carried out. This will immediately trigger the algorithm to bring up a results page that contains local results. And this is where the magic happens.

The results page, as we all know, first brings up adverts at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). After this is where the local searches come into play. These search results are “local packs” that are accompanied by the name of a business, their operating hours, images, reviews, contact details and other customers’ reviews. Finally, the organic search results appear last on the SERP.

The industry’s best-kept secret

What many franchisors and franchisees don’t know is that having a profile in Google Business is a remarkable and much more affordable way of reaching marketing and business KPIs. Why? Because local searches are targeted at physical locations. And who is better suited for this than franchisees as local businesses? Even better – franchisors with over 10 locations can consolidate each of their franchise units under one umbrella master account, which can be managed simultaneously with a few simple clicks.

The proof is in the pudding

I can talk about the power of Google Business  until the sun goes down, but I’d like to illustrate its potential with a real case study.

A franchisor that I worked with a couple of years ago had over 20 franchise locations. However, their Google Business Profiles were inconsistent. Consequently, they were not reaping the benefits of these listings to their fullest potential. But after three months of helping to consolidate these profiles, I’ll let the results speak for themselves. There was a 60% increase in phone calls from the listings, an 80% increase in leads from the franchisee’s local pages and a massive 200% increase in driving directions to the various franchisee locations. 

An underutilised but powerful method to gain you more visibility

It really pains me to see multiple franchisors underutilise the power of Google for local searches. Especially when the potential for incredible results is so easily achievable. Instead, many franchisors continue to spend their marketing budgets on ads while underestimating the growth potential of Google’s local searches. Local search marketing is free to use and it’s great for franchisors who would like to support their new and existing franchisees.

You can always ignore local searches but you will be doing so at your own peril. Your competitors are already scrambling to get ranked in the top three local search results on Google. And you should be, too. Don’t leave your franchise business in the hands of chance. Take charge of it. And of course, if this is something new to you, you can always reach out for help.

Dani Peleva
Dani Peleva